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Variation of Freckled Goatfish Upeneus tragula (Mullidae): Color Morphs off Hon Thom (Gulf of Thailand, South China Sea)

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Abstract

Two color morphs of freckled goatfish Upeneus tragula with different Vietnamese names and mainly black and red body coloration of fresh dead exemplars are found off Hon Thóm (Thom Island), the largest island of An Thoi Archipelago located to the south of Phu Quoc Island, Gulf of Thailand, South China Sea. The presence of the morphs may be connected with the occurrence of two sympatric stocks or with color variation within a single stock. To test these hypotheses, red color content on the body (based on digital analysis of images) and gonadal condition is compared in both morphs. Body coloration does not depend on the sex of the fish. The black morph differs from the red morph in a smaller body size (12.7 vs. 16.4 cm FL on average), and it is represented by mainly immature individuals of both sexes (mean gonadosomatic index of the females 0.5 vs. 2.0%). It is proposed that the change of body coloration is associated with sexual maturation, and it occurs in the ontogeny within a single stock.

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Correspondence to D. A. Pavlov.

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Original Russian Text © D.A. Pavlov, N.G. Emel’yanova, 2018, published in Voprosy Ikhtiologii, 2018, Vol. 58, No. 3, pp. 331–341.

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Pavlov, D.A., Emel’yanova, N.G. Variation of Freckled Goatfish Upeneus tragula (Mullidae): Color Morphs off Hon Thom (Gulf of Thailand, South China Sea). J. Ichthyol. 58, 371–381 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0032945218030128

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1134/S0032945218030128

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